So for me it's been the same. And in the clubhouse it's been good. Listening to some Bob Marley, guys kind of relaxed, focus, preparing.
Q. Cody Bellinger has taken some at-bats lately, particularly with two strikes. He's had more of a "wristy" swing. The triple he hit the other night was shorter and wristier, and last night he had an at-bat where he was behind in the count and took a swing like that, as well. Do you know, is that like sort of the coming plan for him or is he thinking about changing his approach with two strikes, any notions?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I wouldn't say it's wristy. It's more in protect mode. Even last night he punched three or four times. But I thought there was still some good swings mixed in there. And part of it is that they were executing, part of it was he was missing pitches that he probably could have handled and the other part was he was going out of the zone, too.
With two strikes I think he was trying to shorten up, and it does look a little awkward. In those swings he's too conscious of the ball in. So understanding that they can throw in but to look out over, I think that that's got to be his plan. But I still think with Cody in the batter's box he's going to be fine. You've got to keep running him out there. The defense is elite. In the batter's box he's still a threat.
Q. There was a hockey coach one time before a Stanley Cup Game 7 who told his team, "If we win tonight we're going to walk together forever." Is that how you feel about the 2004 guys? How do you think that will translate with this team, if you do what you want to do tonight?
DAVE ROBERTS: I agree with that. I absolutely agree with that. This is what you put your heart and soul into to be a champion and the champions are remembered. We have an opportunity that we are clearly aware of. And I know that we have the players, the people to do this.
So I think for me, for our guys, it's been talked about all year. So I think for me there's no need for a message. I think that we understand what's at stake and what this moment for this city, this fan base, to have Game 7 at home, I just know that our guys are prepared for this moment in every way.
Q. We all heard the mandate Tommy Lasorda gave you yesterday. What's your reaction to it? Do you agree with that? What's your reaction to that?
DAVE ROBERTS: I've heard it all year, and I think that it's great. And it's Tommy's words of encouragement. And, yeah, I think for us, we want a championship. We want a championship. And we're not done yet.
Q. It's well documented your relationship with A.J. What has it like been going through this long series against a guy you're very close to, very good friends with?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think, if anything, as close as we are, I think it's probably brought us closer together. It's not like we've talked throughout the Series, but just for us to go through this together, obviously on opposite sides, I think that it's something that will tie us together for a long time.
And I've got nothing but respect for A.J. and his staff and the way that those guys play. Again, two best teams going at it, Game 7, but we've got a great relationship.
Q. Will you seek him out afterwards, regardless of the outcome?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah.
Q. Bellinger has been struggling, you talked about that a little bit. Too many strikeouts. Anything we can do to help him?
DAVE ROBERTS: We talked about that.
Q. Baseball can be kind of a copycat sport sometimes. And when people look at the Astros and the Dodgers, they might say, well, these are analytics teams or whatever. When you look at maybe what's allowed you two to thrive this season, if teams are looking at why you two got to the finish line, are there more lessons than that? What do you think are maybe the things that have allowed the Dodgers to be, maybe beyond some of the knee-jerk assumptions make?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think people are always going to make knee-jerk assumptions. I think for us you have to be open-minded and be forward-thinking and that's the only way we're going to grow. I know that I feel that way. I know guys in our organization feel that way. I know A.J. feels that way on the other side. I know that's been part of our success. Intrinsically we believe in certain things and philosophies, and as long as we believe in it and our players believe in it, I can't tell what's going to follow as far as how organizations are going to respond, and I really don't care. But I know that we have a thing that we believe in and it's worked.
Q. Do you think it would have turned out any differently thus far under the old roles if one, two, six, seven had been in Houston because the AL won the All-Star Game?
DAVE ROBERTS: I don't know. I don't know. I do know that I like the way that you earn an opportunity to get home-field advantage. And I know that we play -- we were the best team all year at home. I know those guys play very well at home. So to have it come down to one game, I wouldn't change a thing.
Q. Can you describe this team's ability to live in the moment? And then also, good or bad, move past yesterday?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think that's a very important component to a champion, to be able to sustain success and failure. And so we've had a lot of that. But I think that our guys to kind of come together and stay together for a certain moment or a game, we do a very good job of that. And that's the reason why we're here.
Q. Rich Hill said yesterday that he purposely stepped off the mound while the crowd was booing Gurriel to allow the boos to continue longer. What was your reaction to that silent display of solidarity with his teammates?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think Rich, this is a very close group, and for him to acknowledge that moment on behalf of Yu, I'm sure that Yu appreciated that. The fans obviously got to voice their displeasure.
I was just happy to see him get back on the mound and refocus.
Q. We saw Kershaw out in the bullpen yesterday, so obviously he could have come in. In terms of tonight other than Hill is everybody --
DAVE ROBERTS: Everyone's available, correct, yeah.
Q. Including Rich?
DAVE ROBERTS: Outside of Rich.
Q. You've got a lot of players who have never played this many games in a season, who have never played this deep into a year. And I'm wondering if that makes you hesitate a little bit when you hear a player tell you what his limit is, how good he feels? What's your confidence level?
DAVE ROBERTS: It doesn't affect my decision making. This is Game 7. We were in an elimination game yesterday. Every player works and dreams about this moment.
So innings, at-bats, workload, we don't care. We're trying to win one game. So all that stuff is out the window.
Q. How did Joc get it together after the troubles he went through second half of the season?
DAVE ROBERTS: Coaches, players, sticking with him, instilling confidence in him. But No. 1, him looking at himself in the mirror and saying, "I've got to get better." And so it's a blow to your ego when you get optioned out. And for a guy having three-plus years of service, be an All-Star, win a Home Run Contest and to go back to Triple-A. But he refocused and got better because of it. He's grown because of it. And he's helping us win games because of it. So I just couldn't be more happy for Joc. And he deserves all the praise.
Q. From your perspective has the series dragged or been a blur?
DAVE ROBERTS: It certainly hasn't dragged. I think it's been exciting. It's been a lot of fun. A lot of great players doing big things and fun things. I think it's exciting for the fans. I think it's great for baseball.
A blur? Maybe in the sense of trying to recount every little pitch, recall, which I'm usually pretty good at, but in the postseason it gets to be a little bit tougher, it kind of all melds together. But definitely not a drag. This is what it's about.
Q. When you got this job and came here, it was pretty well known that there was a little strife, a little turmoil in the clubhouse. Can you describe the evolution of how this team came together and galvanized and got closer in the role that you played in making that happen?
DAVE ROBERTS: You hear things about how it was before, and I really don't want to speak to it. I just know that the players, the coaches, we have one common goal. And there's a lot of trust that had to be forged that guys believe in one another. And to go through a Major League Baseball season and to accomplish or to achieve expectations in the clubhouse, externally there has to be a lot of trust in each other. And our guys -- you see it, you see it every single day the way we're resilient, we fight to the last out. We pull for one another.
And it's the players, the coaches, the front office, ownership, everyone, baseball operations. It's really fun for me to kind of look back and see how all these different parts of an organization have come together as one. And it's not easy. It's not easy. But they've done it.
Q. As a lot of people now know back in Houston, there will be a fairly large group of your family members dressed in your colors watching the game tonight, including your 85-year-old grandmother. If you could speak to them now, what would you like to tell them?
DAVE ROBERTS: Keep pulling for us. I know that there's a lot of Astro fans over there, but hang tough.
Q. Just following up about the team coming together. Kershaw has talked about how special and unique this group is. Was there a time along the way through the season, whenever, that you sensed that that there is something different, unique, special about these guys?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's twofold in the sense of a lot of the guys that were here last year are here this year. And when you have your core players saying the right things and holding each other accountable, then I know that we're on the right track.
As far as one pivotal moment, it's really hard to say, because I think that over the course of the season there's been so many different things that could have gotten us off track, but we've really stayed together. And so many players have been instrumental in this.
But, yeah, Clayton has been part of a lot of very, very good teams. And I know he said that to me, too, as far as this is a special group of guys. And when he's saying things like that, then you know we're doing something right.